Tilyn Carrell continues dominant season on the ground
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Coming into the season, there were several big names that people had eyes on for Valley. One name that people clearly underestimated was Tilyn Carrell.
Carrell has added an extra element to Valley’s offense. Last season, the offense was centered around playmakers on the outside and Cam Dooley’s mobility at quarterback. That still holds true this season, but now Carrell gives opposing defenses one more thing to worry about.
Over the last four games, Carrell has averaged 157 rushing yards. Carrel has 668 rushing yards and three touchdowns in total.
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“I think Tilyn grew up a lot this year,” Valley coach Adam Hunter said. “He really worked in the offseason.”
Both Carrell and Hunter agree that Carrell’s biggest improvement has been his vision. Carrell and assistant coach Bam Phillips made a conscious effort to make that an asset for him.
“My vision has gotten a lot better,” Carrell said. “We were doing drills to improve it, and it just came as the season came along.”
Hunter lauded his playmakers this offseason. New additions like Brandon Thomas were expected to make Valley’s offense more exciting than in the past.
However, all offseason, Hunter emphasized that Valley was not going to abandon the ground game. That trust and emphasis has shown, and the team has become that much better for it.
“After that first game, I could see how this year was going to go,” Carrell said. “They’ve been trusting me more and I really appreciate it.”
Despite there being a great group of seniors on the team, Tilyn has not shied away from being a leader. Carrell constantly makes an effort to be an encourager to his teammates.
“He’s going to get on you if you’re not doing the right thing,” Hunter said.
“He’s quiet, but he will say something when he’s got to, and he just leads by example. He goes out and practices hard and never complains. It’s kind of easy to be a leader when you do those things, and everybody kind of gravitates to him and follows that lead.”
Carrell is a modest athlete, but his goals are far from modest. Carrell wants to finish the season with 1500 rushing yards to break the school record, and he hopes to have 12-15 touchdowns.
Those goals are without a doubt lofty, but even if Carrell did accomplish them, he would not take the credit.
Carrell believes that the offensive line has been the biggest factor in the success that he and the rest of the team have had this season.
“I just want to thank my O-line,” Carrell said. “They’ve been putting work in all summer, and it’s really showing. Without them, I wouldn’t be here right now. They’re just like my best friends.”
The running game had largely relied on Dooley in the past. Due to that, he had struggled with injuries. Tilyn’s improvement has taken that load off of Dooley and freed him up to make more plays with his arm.
“Anytime we can run the ball and have success, they’re going to try to put more people in the box and try to stop us,” Hunter said.
“That opens up our throwing [and] our reads with Cam. He can pull it and run as well. When you’ve got two guys back there that can stretch the field, it makes it a lot harder on opponents just to pin their ears back and send people.”
Carrell is considered to be a power back, but he is not satisfied with just having power in his arsenal. Carrell worked with assistant coach Dez Reece in the offseason to improve his speed. That aspect of his game is what Carrell believes still needs the most improvement.
“Going forward, I really want to improve my speed,” Carrell said. “I feel like I’ve been getting caught in space a lot, but I’m going to improve on that. The stronger my legs get, I feel like the faster I’ll be and the harder I’ll be to tackle.”
After going undefeated and winning the 5A state championship in basketball, Valley has a chance to do something that few programs at any level have done. The Rams have not won a state championship in football since 1970, but now the team is looking to win a state championship in basketball and football in the same calendar year.
“I feel like if I can get us a ring for Valley, I’ve done what I had to do,” Carrell said.
“That really made me a lot more focused. I felt like if they could do it, we could too. I feel like it’s about time.”